Okay. Okaayyyy. I know I kind of repented for my sins after I read the first of the Hunger Games trilogy. I said I was sorry for putting off the read for so long, for slapping the Hunger Games trend in the face. But. Now that I have finished the second book? I can’t read them fast enough! I can’t remember the last time I was so wrapped up in a story. I’ve even got my husband reading and loving them too!

I began Catching Fire just shortly after finishing the first book. I was eager to dive in and find out what happened next. Though it’s amazing how many little details I forgot in a short lapse between reads, I did also have to plow through some history and redundancies in the beginning, simply because I’m sure Collins wanted to refresh her readers’ memories.

Once the plot picked up and the story got going, I was shocked. I didn’t know where Collins could take the story after the ending of the first book, but she blew all of my theories out of the water. She took a big story and she made it bigger. She made me fall in love with the characters even more. She made me switch my loyalties and then switch them back again.

The brilliance of the Hunger Games, and I think this is especially evident in Catching Fire, is that everything is so real. Collins has a knack for character development, for describing a scene without boring the reader, and, though it’s scary, for creating a plot that is believable. Clearly, the idea is out there; but I think that she has not reached beyond the realms of human capability for evil. Or for good.

In all honesty, Catching Fire is probably the best sequel to any book that I’ve read. Ever. It is a seamless continuation of the previous story, and the perfect platform to build up the next. In fact, I literally set down book two and picked up book three. I’m that into it, people!

That said, I’m now officially monitoring the “COUNTDOWN TO HUNGER GAMES THE MOVIE.” 34 days.

Sarah Ann Noel is a freelance writer, blogger, and public relations professional. She blogs “Read Alert” every week and covers other Denver-related events and thoughts on writing and motherhood on her personal blog. Check back every week for reviews, literary events, and other bookish finds.